Including Graphics on a Resume?

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If adding a graphic or other design element to your resume frightens you, findings recorded in the 2014 white paper produced by Career Thought Leaders Career Brainstorming Day might make shake you up!

According to leading industry experts who gathered to report and summarize trends in resumes development and job search strategy,

“Infographics are being used more frequently on resumes, leadership bios, one-page accomplishment statements, and mobile documents. Hyperlinks, graphs, charts, and feature sections (i.e., project highlights) are also being used, adding visual content to help documents stand out.”

This means a document that was once a plain reverse chronological listing of employment and accomplishment is getting a major makeover. If you are considering refreshing your resume for the job search or to use as a networking tool, this might mean a bit of exploration into uncharted territory for you.

What kind of graphics or design elements might you consider on your resume?

A Chart or Graph

If your industry is sales, marketing, finance, business leadership, or innovation, this could work for you! A picture speaks a thousand words! I have used charts on resumes to demonstrate sales growth, dollars saved, and new income generated. A chart or graph very quickly gets to the point and illustrates success.

An Infographic

Infographics deliver information quickly and look attractive in the process! Is there a symbol, picture, or graphic element you can use to quickly convey your value?

A Logo

It works as nicely on nursing resumes as it does on bartender resumes. Is there a small logo or picture you can include (that doesn’t infringe on copyright) that could be a small differentiator on a resume? The goal is to communicate value quickly. A small picture or logo might help the reader to quickly associate you with their industry!

Some Color!

Contrary to conservative opinion, color is not the resume kiss of death. In fact, adding a touch of color could very well help your resume to stand out amid a sea of black and gray. While I don’t recommend soaking your resume in all the colors of the rainbow (unless you’re in a creative field), I will tell you that adding a little color won’t hurt.

Writer’s hint… consider matching the color you accent your resume with to the color the organization has chosen as part of their logo or branding! Many resume writers report success with this sly little tactic.

A Custom Letterhead

If the rest the design suggestions above seem a little too drastic for you, consider designing your name and contact information into a custom letterhead. Use this unique design on any correspondence you sent out including cover letter, and professional references sheet.

Regardless of which design or graphic elements you try, don’t forget the first rule of resume creation — “Know thy audience!”

If you work in a super conservative industry, the above suggestions might not be appropriate for you. (I will say though, I’ve worked with clients that were very hesitant to use them but still daring enough to give it a shot. They were the first to admit they were wrong after landing that first interview more quickly than anticipated!)

It’s time to get creative and showcase your value in a way that is both well written, and attractive to look at!

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